Carnalità (1974)

A businessman (who everyone for some reason calls “the professor”) cheats a count out of his seaside castle. He moves his sickly wife to the castle and while she’s terminally ill and bed-ridden, he proceeds to freely philander with his wife’s nurse (Femi Benussi), who actually falls in love with the cad, with his sexy blonde secretary, and with a young college girl (Erna Schurer), who is part of group students hanging around the beach whom he takes sailing on his yacht while his ailing wife and lovestruck mistress are stuck at home. He gets his comeuppance though when one the women he has wronged basically decides to screw him to death (which is perhaps not the most terrible kind of vengeance imaginable). This death-by-sex plot wasn’t quite the old saw in 1974 that it is today, but it is very ham-handedly executed. The man is fairly young and fit at the beginning of the movie, but several weeks later he is on his deathbed (yet still apparently able to have more sex).

This could be considered a 70’s Italian giallo, which I consider one of the best exploitation genres ever. But it more resembles the later “erotic thriller” genre (popular both in America and Italy in the 80’s and 90’s), which is probably one of the worst. The two genres are superficially similar, and the former certainly inspired the latter, but while the gialli have ridiculously convoluted but colorful and creative plots, the “erotic thrillers” have pretty stupid and very perfunctory plots. While the giallo often have a great visual style, the erotic thrillers are usually just so much soft-focus porno gloss. While the gialli have great music, the “erotic thrillers” are usually filled with wretched pop or sub-Kenny G. soft jazz. While the gialli often had genuinely talented people both behind and in front of the the camera, the “erotic thrillers” were lensed by hacks and full of talentless “scream queens”and erstwhile porn stars. And while the gialli may have been spiced with sex and nudity, the “erotic thrillers” have pretty much nothing else BUT sex and nudity. This movie isn’t quite as dire as an “erotic thriller”, but it’s certainly much closer to that level of quality.

Date: July 11, 2021